Overview and Degree Programs
The University of Chicago has a long tradition of training scholars who study Africa. Many of those students earn their degrees from the Department of Anthropology, while others do so from the Departments of Comparative Human Development, History, and Political Science.
We do not offer a stand-alone degree in African Studies. Instead, we offer students the opportunity to anchor their study of Africa from the strengths of their chosen discipline. At the same time, the African Studies Workshop, which is a centerpiece of graduate student training at the University of Chicago, fosters rigorous conversations that cut across disciplines. Those discussions expose students to various analytical paradigms and encourage students to develop facility with different sources and methods of scholarly inquiry.
The African Studies Workshop is organized on the principle that serious intellectual engagement is best achieved by reading and discussing papers, chapters, and articles that have not yet been published. Students who have completed their fieldwork and are writing up their research often present draft chapters of their dissertations. The workshop also gives graduate students in their first and second years an avenue to learn more about the practicalities of grantwriting and fieldwork as well as, most importantly, the larger intellectual questions that drive Africanist scholarship. This engaging and productive environment is unique among programs in African Studies, and the committment of faculty and students to the workshop distinguishes the University of Chicago's Africanist community from most others.